Stable Isotopes Studies in the Urucu Oil Province, Amazon Region, Brazil


The study area is the Urucu Oil Province, Municipality of Coari, State of Amazonas, Brazil. This research represents a contribution to the hydrogeological knowledge in the northern region of Brazil, particularly in the central part of the Amazon rainforest, where researches on isotopic are still incipient. The primary goal was to determine, by stable isotopes 18O and 2H measurements, interrelationships between surface water and groundwater, in order to understand the origin and mechanisms of groundwater recharge and discharge. For this, samples of rainwater, superficial water and groundwater were collected between June 2008 and May 2009 for stable isotopic analyzes. This understanding is important in cases of eventual contaminations of the area, which could degrade the water resources. The results show that the superficial waters are typically light waters and have meteoric origin, and the groundwater recharge is by direct rainfall infiltration with primary evaporation before reaching the groundwater table in the Icá-Solimoes Aquifer System. The isotopic signatures similarities between groundwater and superficial waters indicate both waters’ contributions in the streams and, therefore, in the Urucu river.

Share and Cite:

Souza, E. , Galvao, P. , Almeida, R. , Pinheiro, C. , Baessa, M. and Cabral, M. (2015) Stable Isotopes Studies in the Urucu Oil Province, Amazon Region, Brazil. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 7, 131-142. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2015.73011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Clark, I and Fritz, P. (1997) Environmental Isotopes in Hydrogeology. CRC Press, New York, 328 p.
[2] Gat, J.R. (1996) Oxygen and Hydrogen isotopes in the Hydrologic Cycle. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 24, 225-262.
[3] Mook, W.M.E. (2001) Environmental Isotopes in the Hydrological Cycle. Principles and Applications. UNESCO/ IAEA Series.
[4] Craig, H. (1961) Standard for Reporting Concentration of Deuterium and Oxygen-18 in Natural Waters. Science, 133, 1702-1703.
[5] Kennedy, V.C., Kendall, C., Zellweger, G.W., Wyerman, T.A. and Avanzino, R.J. (1986) Determination of the Components of Stormflow Using Water Chemistry and Environmental Isotopes, Mattole River Basin, California. Journal of Hydrology, 84, 107-140.
[6] Buttle, J.M. (1994) Isotope Hydrograph Separations and Rapid Delivery of Pre-Event Water from Drainage Basins. Progress in Physical Geography, 18, 16-41.
[7] Harris, D.M., McDonnell, J.J. and Rodhe, A. (1995) Hydrograph Separation Using Continuous Open System Isotope Mixing. Water Resources Research, 31, 157-171.
[8] Machavaram, M.V., Whittemore, D.O., Conrad, M.E. and Miller, N.L. (2006) Precipitation Induced Stream Flow: An Event Based Chemical and Isotopic Study of a Small Stream in the Great Plains Region of the USA. Journal of Hydrology, 330, 470-480.
[9] McKenna, S.A., Ingraham, N.L., Jacobson, R.L. and Cochran, G.F. (1992) A Stable Isotope Study of Bank Storage Mechanisms in the Truckee River Basin. Journal of Hydrology, 134, 203-219.
[10] O’Driscoll, M.A., DeWalle, D.R., McGuire, K.J. and Gburek, W.J. (2005) Seasonal O-18 Variations and Groundwater Recharge for Three Landscape Types in Central Pennsylvania, USA. Journal of Hydrology, 303, 108-124.
[11] Lee, K.S. and Kim, Y. (2007) Determining the Seasonality of Groundwater Recharge Using Water Isotopes: A Case Study from the Upper North Han River Basin, Korea. Environmental Geology, 52, 853-859.
[12] Winston, W.E. and Criss, R.E. (2003) Oxygen Isotope and Geochemical Variations in the Missouri River. Environmental Geology, 43, 546-556.
[13] Cartwright, I., Weaver, T.R., Fulton, S., Nichol, C., Reid, M. and Cheng, X. (2004) Hydrogeochemical and Isotopic Constraints on the Origins of Dryland Salinity, Murray Basin, Victoria, Australia. Applied Geochemistry, 19, 1233-1254.
[14] Silveira, C.S. and Silva Junior, G.C. (2002) The Use of Environmental Isotopes in Hydrogeological Studies in Brazil: A Critical Review. Yearbook of the Institute of Geosciences, Vol. 25, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro.
[15] Gat, J.R., Mazor, E. and Mercado, A. (1968) Potential Applications of Isotopic and Geochemical Techniques to Hydrological Problems of Northeastern Brazil. Report to the Atomic Energy Commission and SUDENE, 28 p.
[16] Ferreira de Melo, F.A., Reboucas, A.C., Gat, J.R. and Mazor, E. (1969) Preliminary Isotope Survey of Water Sources in Northeastern Brazil. SUDENE, Spec. Report 18.
[17] Campos, M.M. (1971) Preliminary Survey of Levels of Tritium in Waters of Northeastern Brazil. Report, IPR, Belo Horizonte, 10 p.
[18] Prado, E.B. and Bedmar, A.P. (1976) Contribution of Various Isotopic Techniques to Hydrogeological Study in the Maranhao Basin (Brasil). Hidrologia Journal, April-July, 65-79.
[19] Salati, E., Leal, J.M. and Campos, M.M. (1979) Environmental Isotopes Applied to a Hydrogeological Study of Northeast Brazil. SUDENE, No. 58, Recife, 55 p.
[20] Frischkorn, H., Santiago, M.F. and Serjo, A.N. (1989) Isotope Study of Wells in Crystalline Rock of the Semi-Arid Northeast of Brazil. In: Regional Seminar for Latin America on the Use of Isotope Techniques in Hydrology, Abstracts, OIEA, Mexico City, 73-89.
[21] Santiago, M.F., Frischkorn, H. and Serejo, A.N. (1990) Isotopic Study of the Waters of Cariri. In: 4th Brazilian Groundwater Congress, Brazilian Association of Groundwater, Porto Alegre, 338-342.
[22] Silva, C.M.S.V., Santiago, M.F., Frischkorn, H. and Mendes Filho, J. (1996) Distinction between Alluvial Waters and Deep Waters in the Municipalities of Crato and Juazeiro do Norte-CE. In: 9th Brazilian Groundwater Congress, Brazilian Association of Groundwater, Salvador, CD-ROM Sao Paulo.
[23] Batista, J.R.X., Santiago, M.M.F., Frischkorn, H., Mendes Filho, J. and Foster, M. (1998) Environmental Isotopes in Groundwater of Picos-PI. In: 10th Brazilian Groundwater Congress, Brazilian Association of Groundwater, Sao Paulo.
[24] Costa Filho, W.D., Santiago, M.M.F., Costa, W.D. and Mendes Filho, J. (1998) Stable Isotopes and the Quality of Groundwater in the Plain of Recife. In: Brazilian Groundwater Congress, Brazilian Association of Groundwater, Sao Paulo.
[25] Silva, R.B.G., Kimmelmann, A.A. and Reboucas, A.C. (1985) Hydrochemical and Isotopic Study of Groundwater from the Aquifer Botucatu-Partial Results for the Northern Region of the Paraná Basin. In: 5th Geology Symposium, Atas, Sao Paulo, Vol. 2, 489-502.
[26] Kimmelmann, A.A., Reboucas, A.C. and Santiago, M.M.F. (1988) 14C Dating of the Botucatu Aquifer System in Brazil. In: 13th International Radiocarbon Conference, Abstracts, Iugoslávia, Dubrovinik, 110.
[27] Kimmelmann, A.A., Silva, E., Reboucas, A.C., Santiago, M.M.F. and Silva, R.B.G. (1989) Isotopic Study of the Botucatu Aquifer System in the Brazilian Portion of the Paraná Basin. In: Regional Seminar for Latin America on the Use of Isotope Techniques in Hydrology, Abstracts, OIEA, Ciudad de Mexico, 51-71.
[28] Martins, V.T.S. (2008) Application of Isotopes of Pb, Sr, H and O as Tracers for Recharge and Contamination of Metropolitan Aquifers: An Example from the Upper Tietê Basin (SP). Thesis (PhD in Geology), University of Sao Paulo, USP, IGc, Institute of Geosciences, 220 p.
[29] Matsui, E., Salati, E., Brinkmann, W.L.F. and Friedman, J. (1972) Flows for the Negro and Solimoes Rivers through the 18O Concentration. Acta Amazonica, 2, 31-46.
[30] Reis, C.M., Tancredi, A.C.F.N.S., Matsui, E. and Salati, E. (1977) Characterization of Waters in the Region of Marajó through Concentrations of 18O and D. Acta Amazonica, 7, 209-222.
[31] Dall’Olio, A., Salati, E., Azevedo, C.T. and Matsui, E. (1979) Model of Isotopic Fractionation of Water in the Amazon Basin (First Approximation). Acta Amazonica, 9, 675-687.
[32] Salati, E., Dall’Olio, A., Matsui, E. and Gat, J.R. (1979) Recycling of Water in the Amazon Basin: An Isotopic Study. Water Resources Research, 15, 1250-1258.
[33] Matsui, E., Salati, E., Ribeiro, M.N.G., Reis, C.M., Tancredi, A.C.S.N.F. and Gat, J.R. (1983) Precipitation in the Central Amazon Basin: The Isotopic Composition of Rain and Atmospheric Moisture at Belem and Manaus. Acta Amazonica, 13, 307-369.
[34] Gonfiantini, R. (1985) On the Isotopic Composition of Precipitation in Tropical Stations. Acta Amazonica, 15, 121-139.
[35] Leopoldo, P.R., Matsui, E., Salati, E., Franken, W. and Ribeiro, M.N.G. (1982) Isotopic Composition of Rainwater and Water from the Soil in the Amazon Forest Bedrock Type, Region of the City of Manaus. Acta Amazonica, 12, 7-13.
[36] Leopoldo, P.R., Matsui, E., Foloni, L.L. and Salati, E. (1984) Variation of the Values of D and 18O Sheet in Water during the Evaporation Process. Nuclear Energy and Agriculture, 6, 3-18.
[37] Matsui, E., Azevedo, C.T. and Salati, E. (1980) Distribution of Deuterium in Surface and Ground Waters in Brazil. Nuclear Energy and Agriculture, 2, 149-165.
[38] Mortatti, J., Martinelli, L.A., Matsui, E., Victoria, R.L. and Richey, J.E. (1987) Isotopic Variation of Oxygen in the Water of River Solimoes/Amazon and Its Main Tributaries. Energia Nuclear E Agricultura, 8, 14-23.
[39] Lopes, E.C.S. (2005) Hydrogeochemical and Geophysical Studies of the Braquidobra Region of Monte Alegre/PA. Dissertation (MSc in Geology), Federal University of Pará, Centre of Geosciences, School of Postgraduate Geology and Geochemistry, Belem, 75 p.
[40] Petrobras. (2010) Urucu Oil Province.
[41] Galvao, P.H.F. (2011) Hydrogeological Characterization of the Aquifers of Solimoes Formation in the Geologist Pedro de Moura Operational Base, Urucu Oil Province (AM). Dissertation (MSc in Geology), Federal University of Pernambuco, CTG, Graduate Program in Geosciences, Recife, 148 p.
[42] Caputo, M.V. (1984) Stratigraphy, Tectonics, Paleoclimatology and Paleogeography of Northern Basins of Brasil. Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Santa Barbara, 586 p.
[43] Eiras, J.F., Becker, C.R., Souza, E.M., Gonzaga, F.G., Silva, J.G.F. and Daniel, L.M.F. (1994) Solimoes Basin. Petrobras Bulletin of Geosciences, 8, 17-45.
[44] Caputo, M.V. and Silva, O.B. (1991) Sedimentation and Tectonics in the Solimoes Basin. In: Raja Gabaglia, G.P. and Milani, E.J., Eds., Origin and Evolution of Sedimentary Basins, Petrobras, Rio de Janeiro, 169-193.
[45] Caputo, M.V., Rodrigues, R. and Vasconcelos, D.N.N. (1971) Lithostratigraphy of the Amazon Basin. Internal Report, Petrobras, Belem.
[46] Caputo, M.V., Rodrigues, R. and Vasconcelos, D.N.N. (1972) Stratigraphic Nomenclature of the Amazon Basin: History and Update. In: 26th Brazilian Congress of Geology, Brazilian Society of Geology, Belem, Vol. 3, 35-46.
[47] Cruz, N.M.C. (1987) Quitinozoarious from Solimoes Basin, Brazil. Internal Report, Belem Covenant CPRM/Petrobras.
[48] Nogueira, A.C.R., Arai, M., Horbe, A.M., Silveira, R.R. and Silva, J.S. (2003) The Marine Influence in Deposits of the Solimoes Formation in the Region of Coari (AM): Registration of the Miocene Transgression in the Western Amazon. In: 8th Symposium on Geology of the Amazon, Abstracts, Brazilian Society of Geology, Manaus.
[49] Galvao, P.H.F., Demetrio, J.G.A., Souza, E.L., Pinheiro, C.S.S. and Baessa, M.P.M. (2012) Hydrogeological and Geometric Characterization of the Ica and Solimoes Formations in Urucu Area, Amazonas State. Brazilian Journal of Geology, 42, 142-153.
[50] IAEA/WHO (2004) Global Network of Isotopes in Precipitation. The GNIP Database.
[51] Leng, M.J. (2006) Isotopes in Palaeoenvironmental Research. Springer Verlag, Berlin, 307 p.
[52] Vuille, M. and Werner, M. (2005) Stable Isotopes in Precipitation Recording South American Summer Monsoon and ENSO Variability: Observations and Model Results. Climate Dynamics, 25, 401-413.
[53] Mazor, E. (1991) Applied Chemical and Isotopic Groundwater Hydrology. Open University Press, Suffolk, 274 p.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.